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Reviewed: Gallery Hostel, Porto

Relax at the Gallery Hostel Porto, Portugal

Being as my trip to Porto was to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of my round-the-world trip, it was only right that I would be back staying in a hostel for the first time in almost as many years. But the Gallery Hostel is a major step up from some of the hostels that I stayed in back then… and a lot of the hotels that I’ve stayed in since. It’s one of a new breed of ’boutique hostels’, with hotel-style rooms (with en suites, private rooms, quality linen and towels) as well as hostel-style amenities (like communal areas, kitchen facilities and free wifi). And if the Gallery Hostel is what a boutique hostel looks like, then consider me a convert.

The location

The Gallery Hostel is located on Rua Miguel Bombarda, about a ten-minute walk from either Trindade metro station or São Bento train station. The area’s a hub for artists, with galleries scattered around the surrounding streets. The hostel lives up to its name with its own art exhibitions, which vary from paintings to photographs and are opened up to the public twice a month. If you want to learn more about the city’s art district, the hostel staff run a nightly walking tour around the area. The building was originally an eighteenth-century aristocrat’s villa, which has been restored and redeveloped into a modern, well-equipped hostel. Along the street there’s a small supermarket and a great tea shop Rota do Chá, which serves over 300 different varieties of tea and has a pretty oriental patio garden.

The Gallery Hostel, Porto

The central courtyard area with bar and lounge

The rooms

A bunkbed in a dorm was a step too far back for me, so I was glad to hear that the Gallery Hostel also has four private rooms. They are set out the back of the hostel in a single-storey extension, so you won’t get disturbed. Our twin room was light and airy, with stripped wood floors and decorated in white with splashes of turquoise and a huge colourful print on the wall. There’s a good amount of storage with a whole wall of cupboards. Being a hostel rather than a hotel you don’t get a kettle, fridge etc, but they’re all only a few metres away in the communal kitchen. The bathroom is small but stylish, with a separate sink area and a big powerful rainforest shower. The dorm rooms are similarly decorated, sleeping only four or six with their own bathrooms, as well as security lockers and built-in reading lights.

En suite twin room at the Gallery Hostel Porto, Portugal

Our private en suite twin room

The food

Breakfast is included in the room rate and is served between 7.30am and 10.30am. There’s the usual continental selection of breads, pastries, cheese, ham, cereals and fruit, as well as eggs cooked to order. Being a hostel, you have access to the kitchen if you want to prepare food yourself during the day, with tea and coffee supplied. In the evenings it’s a bit harder to access the kitchen as it’s used to prepare the nightly hostel dinners. These are amazing value though at €10 per person for a three-course meal including wine. One night we had salads, a Portuguese barbecue and chocolate fondant. And on the Saturday there was a ‘port and tapas’ night, including four ports to taste for €12. About 10 guests and a couple of the staff joined in the dinner for a sociable night on a big communal table.

The kitchen at the Gallery Hostel Porto, Portugal

The hostel kitchen, with the communal table off to the left

The facilities

When you check in, the staff will take you on a tour around the hostel so you know where everything is. The ground floor is set around a bright central indoor courtyard, with the different rooms leading off it. On the landing there’s a computer room/library with Apple Mac computers you can use and books about the local area. Then downstairs you have an open-plan bar serving coffees, soft drinks, local wines and ports. It’s a good place to relax and meet the other guests, with plenty of seating. There’s also a TV/cinema room which has big squashy seats and a pull-down projector screen. There’s not much in the way of outside space, but there is a little smoker’s garden and a rooftop terrace that’s open in the summer.

Gallery Hostel Porto, Portugal

Decorative touches in the bar area and courtyard

My tips

  • Guests are… mainly couples, small groups of friends and older backpackers.
  • Staff are… young, hip and very knowledgeable about Porto and Portugal.
  • Don’t forget… the hostel run a couple of free walking tours each day – a general Porto one in the mornings at 10.30am and an art district one in the early evening at 6pm.
  • Useful to know… the supermarket along the street has very cheap food and drinks (small bottles of water were an incredible €0,15).

The details

Room rates range from €60–€75 per night for a double/twin private room. Dorm beds start from €20 a night in six-bed room and go up to €22 in a four-bed dorm. You can reserve rooms via their website or by the Hostelword/Hostelbookers sites, with the balance payable on arrival (by cash or card).

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. It all looks very pleasant and fantastic value, we are off to Lisbon soon watch out for aour adventures soon!

    March 13, 2013
    • I’m quite the Portugal convert after this trip and have read a lot of good things about Lisbon so look forward to seeing how you get on!

      March 13, 2013
  2. I’ve been to the Gallery Hostel a couple of times. Not to stay, but to look at the art exhibitions they have in the communal spaces. From what I’ve seen, it looks lovely – a very well thought out hostel with lots of different areas and facilities. The only thing that stops me staying there is that the private rooms are more expensive than hotel rooms and I wasn’t sure that the quality would match a hotel. Are the beds comfortable?

    March 13, 2013
    • The beds were pretty good, though to make it more adaptable they put two singles together to make a double rather than having double beds, so it’s possibly not ideal if you’re staying with a partner! I think the social aspect/amenities made it better than a hotel for us, but if you are just looking for a place to sleep then it might not be worth the difference in cost (very impressed by how reasonable things were in Portugal in general by the way!).

      March 13, 2013
  3. I think I could be a hostel convert after reading this post! I really like the concept of boutique hostels, been looking at this type of place for Prague, which I’m hoping will feature on this year’s city break list if I can do it cheap enough!

    March 13, 2013
    • I did a weekend in Prague last year too (we obviously have the same taste in holidays!) and did look into hostels but couldn’t find anything available on the right dates that was central enough, so ended up at the Hotel Century Old Town as there was a good deal on there. Useful to see how you get on through for future reference!

      March 13, 2013
  4. Sounds like the place I’d love staying in! Great choice!

    March 13, 2013
    • Thanks, I really liked the combination of having your own space like you have in a hotel, but the option to go and be sociable in the common areas if you wanted to.

      March 14, 2013
  5. I’ll definitely consider this place if I ever make it to Porto! Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

    March 14, 2013
    • You’re welcome, I’d definitely recommend it – and Porto!

      March 14, 2013
  6. looks like you found yourself a little gem here Lucy – thanks for sharing!

    March 17, 2013
    • Think I got the tip from The Budget Traveller’s Luxury Hostels of Europe site – there are some great looking places there, I might have to try out a few more.

      March 18, 2013
  7. On my walking tour there were a group of lads using the Gallery and it came very highly recommended, Lucy. Good photos!

    March 18, 2013
    • I really liked it, it was nice to have people to chat with if you wanted to – though a lot of the ones we met were on long-term trips and heading off to Lisbon or Spain next, a bit jealousy inducing when you know you’ll be back at work the next day!

      March 18, 2013
    • I have to say I find the mobile population abroad these days a little grieving. I’m jealous rotten!

      March 18, 2013
  8. We stayed in one of these in Singapore to save money on our RTW trip…only this one had double beds for couples in the dorm room! It was definitely interesting, and we actually had a great sleep, but 8 double beds in 1 room was a bit much, I think… 😉

    April 6, 2013
    • That is a really weird idea, I think a private room is as hostelly as I’ll be getting!

      April 7, 2013

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